Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday claimed that if Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah had informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the power-sharing agreement between the two parties “in time”, Maharashtra would have not gone through a turmoil over government formation, PTI reported. The state was placed under President’s Rule earlier this week as no party was able to stake claim to form government since the Assembly election results were announced on October 24.
“Had Shah informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about this decision of ‘50:50 formula’ in time, we would not have been facing this situation today,” Raut said. “I heard Modi [during poll campaigns] saying that Fadnavis will continue as the chief minister of Maharashtra, but we maintained the decorum and did not object it as we did not see it as a political message to us.”
Raut also wondered whether the prime minister was “kept away” by BJP leaders from the seat-sharing agreement between the two parties.
The remarks came a day after Shah blamed the Sena for the collapse of the BJP-Sena alliance in the state. The home minister said that before the Assembly polls both he and Modi had publicly said several times that former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would come back for a second term, but “no one objected back then”. “Now, they have come up with new demands which are not acceptable to us,” Shah said in an interview.
Raut on Thursday said the “promises were made” when the Union minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had met at the latter’s home in Mumbai in February before the Lok Sabha elections. “It was the drawing room of late Balasaheb Thackeray, but for us it is a temple,” the Sena leader said. “The talks were held in the temple. If someone says no promises were made, it is an insult of the temple, Balasaheb Thackeray and Maharashtra.”
In response to Shah’s claim in the interview that it was not in BJP’s values to reveal what was discussed with its alliance partner in private, Raut said: “When a promise made behind closed door is not kept, then only it comes out.”
The Sena leader said that his party had never traded in politics or viewed it as a matter of “profit or loss”. Raut added that the party was making the discussions public as it was a matter of self-respect.
Following the declaration of the Assembly election results, the BJP had emerged as the single-largest party with with 105 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The Sena, with 56 seats, came second, while the NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 constituencies.
However, the BJP and the Sena tussled over sharing equal number of Cabinet portfolios, and the chief minister’s post for two and a half years. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has claimed that the BJP had agreed to the power-sharing deal in the run-up to the General Elections in April and May.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had first asked the BJP to stake claim to form the government, however the party said it could not do so due to lack of numbers. Following this, the Shiv Sena was asked to prove its majority but the party had asked for additional time to garner support. Koshyari rejected Sena’s request for extra time to get letters of support and invited the Nationalist Congress Party, the third largest party in the state, to stake claim instead.
Hours before the deadline for NCP was supposed to end on Tuesday, Koshyari recommended President’s Rule in the state. He had said a situation had arisen in which it was impossible to constitute a stable government.
Since the dispute with the BJP, the Sena has been trying to form an alliance with the Congress and the NCP combine. However, the parties are ideologically different, and are trying to agree on a common minimum programme. On Tuesday, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said the three parties would find a way to work together despite their differences.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, which has blamed the BJP and Koshyari for the imposition of President’s Rule in the state, alleged on Thursday that it was a “scripted act”. It also criticised Koshyari for giving them just 24 hours to garner support to prove its majority.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.